How This Mercury in Retrograde Affects Your Pet · The Wildest

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Mercury Is In Retrograde—Here’s How It Will Affect Your Pet This Aries Season

A Mercury petrograde, if you will—with a side of the zoomies.

by Alea Erika
April 15, 2024
dog parent looking at a night sky with their dog
Shutterstock / Liudmila Bohush

Whether you wanted to or not, you likely know by now that Mercury has taken up its three-week-long residence in the cultural consciousness — aka, it's retrograde again. The messenger planet has been retracing its steps through Aries since April 1, accompanied by its trademark misunderstandings, tech glitches, slapstick accidents, and cat-on-keyboard emails sent to your entire work contact list boldly declaring, “hdsjg/.2nnnnn;.y .n.”

Mercury is the CEO of communication, the mind, travel, commerce, technology, and, as the influential 17th-century astrologer William Lilly decreed, “rules the animal spirit.” Animals live in a directly sensed world, rich with textures beyond human perception and connected to earthly rhythms governed by cycles of the moon and sun. OK, your domestic pet is more likely to be governed by the rhythms of when you get up to feed them. 

Still, it’s unsurprising that pet parents have reported high-chaos behaviors and mood fluctuations when Mercury appears to move backward in the sky. The extent to which their fine-tuned instincts are picking up on the cosmic weather or your own retrograde-induced energetic turmoil cannot be determined. But we don’t need science to tell us that something is a little out of whack right now.

What’s special about this one?

Much like us (and our pets), each Mercury retrograde has its unique style of mayhem. In enthusiastic Aries, the official sign of the zoomies and apologize-later culture, this retrograde comes with a warning not to put your paw in your mouth. Hot-headed, impulsive, and primal qualities are emphasized, so don't be alarmed if your usually dozy cat begins leaving gifts of prey on your pillow or your shy pooch has an unprecedented new enthusiasm for humping dogs at the dog park. Mercury delights in the mischief of reversing the typical flow and order of things.

Mercury petrograde: signs your pet is feeling the vibes

  • Your pet seems more anxious, territorial, accident-prone or has dramatic shifts in energy levels.

  • They join the inside cat becomes outside cat movement — there can be a spike in animals taking themselves for a walk at this time.

  • You notice uncharacteristic clashes between animals that are usually besties — the misunderstandings that characterize these periods can also occur in the animal world.

  • Retrogrades tend to involve a return to the past in some capacity. Old behaviors or health issues may flare up during this time.

  • You see fluctuations in taste or habits (ie., a beloved toy is abandoned, or favorite food is met with suspicion).

  • Your pet shows an uncharacteristic disobedience or flagrant disregard for the rules (Aries answer to themselves, thank you very much). 

Navigating the celestial chaos: how to support wellbeing during this time 

  • Try to maintain a stable environment by sticking to routines and avoiding sudden changes.

  • Some have proactively addressed cat-composed emails by providing feline counterparts with a personal computer.  

  • The confusion in the air right now may impact how you or your pet understand each other. Repeat and ensure clarity in your requests if cues they don’t follow cues they usually respond to.

  • As Mercury governs learning, be patient if you encounter behavioral hurdles or regression — all beings get a Mercury retrograde free pass. In fact, in dog training, the phenomenon of a behavior getting far worse just before it shifts is known as an extinction burst and is welcomed as a sign that positive change is on the way. 

  • Account for microchip malfunctions by getting a personalized collar, examine harnesses and leashes for signs of weakness, and double-check that you locked the door—you know the drill. 

  • Everyone talks to their animals, but are we listening? While the usual pathways of information exchange are thwarted, less linear forms of perception are on hand. Take the opportunity to be present with your pet and expand your understanding of how they are communicating with you.

  • Ride the wave of energetic fluctuations and try to strike a balance between activity and overstimulation. Walks and play will help move nervous or hyperactive energy through the body. Other pets will simply need more rest and attention.

A final takeaway

Embrace circle-back season: When Mercury appears to spin backward in the sky, we are being called to review, slow down, and reorient. Try approaching these periods with a blend of pragmatism, compassion, and curiosity within your animal relationships. Consider this a data-collection period that can illuminate different needs or ways to attend to your pet's care that you may normally be too outwardly focused to notice. Maybe their daily walks have always been a bit inconvenient for you; now is the time to reassess getting a dog walker or figuring out a new plan. 

Mercury retrogrades happen three or four times a year. Short of impulsively adopting a new animal or signing an important contract with only a casual glance, life must go on. 

Aries calls for embodiment — yanking us out of the Mercurial realms of abstraction and intellect and into the physical body. So, take a chill pill, log off, and spend more time hanging out with your pet, who’s already pretty at one with their physical body. By April 24, Mercury will be back to business, and the subsequent few weeks (known as the shadow period) should see animals and humans alike returning to their normal rhythms… that is, of course, until the next one in August.


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alea erika

Alea Erika

Alea is an astrologer, DJ, and writer from New Zealand who is currently based in Portland, OR. Her music shows and interviews can be found on NTS Radio at Lucifer Over Los Angeles, and her writing is featured in Butch is Not a Dirty Word and The Spinoff among others.

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